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blog Mythic Guide to Heroes & Villains — The Shadow Archetype and Powerful Villains

Black Dragon

Black Dragon submitted a new blog post:

Mythic Guide to Heroes & Villains — The Shadow Archetype and Powerful Villains
by Antonio del Drago


This is Part 8 of the Mythic Guide to Heroes & Villains.

We spoke of archetypes earlier, and one archetype that we often see in the realm of villains is The Shadow.

The Shadow is an embodiment of our darker selves. An apparition is formed — either literally or metaphorically — from the dark corners of our minds. We try not to acknowledge it, but instead bury it deep within the psyche. Still, it can't stay buried forever, and will eventually manifest itself in some fashion.

Characteristics of The Shadow typically embody the ugliest aspects of human nature, such as lust, greed, hatred, dishonesty, and violence. The Shadow can also be a manifestation of more complex elements, such as repressed memories.

In the realm of fiction, it is not uncommon for the villain to be the embodiment of the hero's shadow. For this reason, protagonists sometimes see a part of themselves reflected in the villain.

The Creature created by Dr. Frankenstein (The Creature commonly being mistakenly known as “Frankenstein” himself) is an excellent example of a shadow archetype. A dark and menacing monster is created as a result of Dr. Frankenstein’s attempt to defy both God and Nature. A physical embodiment of his own sins is...
Continue reading the Original Blog Post.


Myth Weaver
My principle villains in the 'Empire' series are shadowy, but don't really give the impression of being powerful - most of the time. At varios points in the series, they have masqueraded as entertainers, peddlers, common laborers, cooks, sailors, monks, and common guardsmen with great success. That said, a few times they have wielded greater authority: high priests, barbarian chiefs, and petty kings - but those were all in the past.